April 21: Late, but welcome

A positive step toward Israel was long in coming, but what a pleasant surprise that The Netherlands has finally taken it!

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April 20, 2009 21:50
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Late, but welcome Sir, - A positive step toward Israel was long in coming, but what a pleasant surprise that The Netherlands has finally taken it! In the '50s and '60s, when Israel still seemed the underdog to that fellow small country of peace-lovers - the murder of over 80 percent of its Jews freshly in mind - only then was there any sympathy for the Jewish state. Its motivation is a bit off now; but as our sages teach, deeds count for more than motives. From here, it is a long jump to assume that the Low Countries will join Germany, which has stood with us firmly ever since that infamous era. But in itself, the Dutch action is encouraging ("Obama: Durban II's anti-Israel slant is hypocritical," April 20). M. VAN THIJN Jerusalem Tell me how Sir, - Re "MK Zahalka in Geneva: I'm a victim of 'Israeli racist apartheid'" (April 20). If that is the case, how was he elected an MK? MICHAEL PLASKOW Netanya Sir, - Am I a racist? I strongly believe Israel should be a Jewish state. There are some 22 Muslim states, and just one little Jewish state. If Jamal Zahalka doesn't like the policies in Israel, he has the freedom to move to Palestine and join the Hamas and PA governments. ANDEE GOLDMAN Netanya Sir, - Forgive me repeating what all honest Israelis know, but I'll keep it brief: Israel wants two states with secure borders. Hamas wants one state, and Israelis in the sea ("PA, Hamas reject Netanyahu's demand to recognize Israel as state of the Jewish people," April 19). ESTHER DIAMOND Jordan Valley Sad state of affairs Sir, - Several years ago, I was approached by some scientific colleagues from the former Soviet Union to help form a World Congress of Jewish Scientists. Since there are similar groups of Chinese and other ethnic scientists and there were serious problems facing Jews in science due to attempts to boycott Israeli academics and institutions, this seemed good idea. We approached the Israeli Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport for support in trying to organize a "founding" conference in Jerusalem and were assured that some funds had been set aside for this purpose. However, the government changed to the Kadima Party, and we were told we would have to start the process again, including a meeting with the new assistant to the new minister. When we met with this assistant, a very businesslike Israeli, she said she had read our material but objected to one aspect. In our preamble describing our group, we had referred to Israel as a "Jewish state." She indicated that if this offending statement wasn't removed, it would be difficult for us to receive funding. We were taken aback, but unwilling to lose the funding, we asked her what her objection was and whether some other form of statement would be acceptable since as far as we knew, Israel is recognized by its own government as a "Jewish state." After some discussion she said she would present our proposal to the minister, whom we could not meet. We were later told the funds had been used for other purposes. So, unfortunately, it's not only the Palestinians who object to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. JACK COHEN, Visiting Professor Hebrew University Jerusalem Ketzele's mistake Sir, - Who doesn't know that marvelous "Ketzele" [Ya'acov Katz], his infectious smile and famous cane? He lives, eats and breathes for Israel and is viewed as a man of absolute principle even by those who disagree with his politics. But if his letter to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was as reported by Matthew Wagner ("NU chairman to Rahm Emanuel: Don't forget you're Jewish!" April 20), I am afraid he has made a bad mistake. Those of us Americans who support a strong America-Israel relationship do so as loyal Americans and because we believe it is in the US's best interests. America and Israel share the same values, including democracy. Israel is a strategic asset to America whether in the Cold War or today in the universal fight against terrorism. To suggest that COS Emanuel act in a certain way because he is Jewish is wrong and, more importantly, counterproductive, opening up the door to the fallacious argument that American Jews have dual allegiance. This argument was dealt with very effectively decades ago by Supreme Court Justice Brandeis in an essay ("Dual Allegiance") which argued convincingly that to be a good Jew in America one has to be a loyal and devoted American. This is as true today as it was then. Ketzele also made a mistake in comparing Emanuel to Queen Esther. In the first place, Esther was better-looking. Secondly, this is the Pessah season, the period of salvation. Purim is behind us. Unfortunately we will be tested in the future as we have been in the past; but after each Purim will come a Pessah and, God willing, a Yom Ha'atzma'ut. Ad mea ve'esrim, Ketzele - but, please, no more letters like that. SAMUEL M. EISENSTAT New York Red alert Sir, - Re "Give Ramat Gan Stadium the red card" (April 20): Jeff Barak made some fine points about the unfortunate state of the top football facilities in Israel. Not only are they dangerous, they are 110 percent a disaster waiting to happen. A couple of years ago, supporters at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium coming forward from the stands onto the field were met by a huge iron gate that surrounded the pitch. Some fans were hospitalized but, thank God, no one was killed. The gates were removed before the following season. I myself have been hurt at both stadiums - coming down the hill at Ramat Gan and, four years ago, crushed up against the iron fence outside Teddy Stadium near the ticket booths and entrances. Much more work needs to be done, but until the rest of the Israeli press and football supporters protest the dangers en masse, Mr. Barak's voice will unfortunately go unheard. JOSHUA HALICKMAN Jerusalem Small expectations Sir, - Thanks to Ehud Zion Waldoks for his continuous, candid reporting on environmental issues. Reading "Israelis still have to learn how to clean up after themselves" (April 14), I once again shook my head in dismay at the weak expectations and even weaker responses to violators on the part of the NPA Inspector and KKL spokesperson. Although education is important in the long term, ad campaigns and public awareness messages are an ineffective response to pollution and ecological disasters-in-the-making, as well as to killers on the road. Sadly, a huge percentage of the population will not do the right thing unless someone is watching and there's a price to pay. If people aren't good enough citizens to pick up their trash at picnic sites, how can we expect them to drive more safely and conserve water - unless there are painful consequences? K. BRONSTEIN Petah Tikva 'Post' goes to NY Sir, - All major Israeli newspapers, and some magazines, are available in my former neighborhood of New York's Upper West Side - except the Post. Every time I return for family visits I check to see if your paper is there. Finally, The Jerusalem Post is returning to New York ("From 'Post' to 'Post' - 'The Jerusalem Post' is coming to New York," April 20). I always thought it scandalous to see a wide choice of Israeli reading material but not this veteran and venerable paper. Even with this new format, being part of another newspaper, the scar is not fully healed. In my opinion, the The Jerusalem Post deserves to be available as a separate paper and not merely an attachment. AHARON GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit

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